Tea farmers in Murang’a County narrate tribulations to senators

Tea farmers in a meeting convened by Senators at Gatura market, Murang'a County over challenges facing the tea farming sector. [Photo: Boniface Gikandi, Standard]
Tea farmers in Murang’a want the government to write off their loans, even as they recounted their suffering to senators.

The farmers told the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Tea how their interests have been ignored for decades, with factories paying them Sh15 a kilo of green leaf despite increased cost of production.

Speaking at Gatura market in Gatanga, they told Senators Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and Njeru Ndwiga (Embu) majority of tea farmers have resorted to hawking of their green leaf for more income.

Paul Kamau, a farmer from Githambo tea factory, said hawkers buy green leaf at Sh24 a kilo, Sh9 more than what Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories pay.

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“The Senate should tell us why previous task force reports have failed,” said  Kamau.

They proposed directors term be limited to two terms and questioned why they are being charged research levy yet their soils have not been analysed for 30 years.

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